Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Learning a new flora: biocrusts of Geitasandur, Iceland

Geitasandur means "goat sand plain" more or less, which is a pretty cool name. I'll tell you more of its interesting story later. For now, I'm prepping to survey this flora next week. I grabbed over 20 species, mosses and lichens, in a quick visit last week, mostly new to me. So, I'm in that stage of examining, identifying to some degree, and assigning pseudonyms so that I don't have to call everything "unknown lichen 1 - 45". Maybe you can help. Please feel free to suggest some taxa in the comments that I can verify with a key (or an expert) later. By the way, though some species may be shared, this community is totally different from the highlands snow bed community I mentioned previously.


Here's what I grabbed, I imagine there's about 30 species total out there.

Photo 1.Two interesting fruticose lichens. Someone must know the brown one. I've seen the genus before, but don't know it. The white one with a bluish cast is a Stereocaulon. There seem to be multiple species in that genus at the site (S. alpinum is there; but S. arcticum and others are plausible).

Photo 2. I'm curious about that deeply lobed foliose lichen, growing among Polytrichum stems.

Photo 3. Could be Protopannaria, maybe Psoroma. Any other ideas?

Photo 4. Absolutely my favorite! My mind goes to Solorina or Peltigera. It's small, only a couple cm in diameter.

Photo 5. Lots going on here. Good view of a Racomitrium cushion, concealing a Cladonia. But there appears to be two white-rimmed orange things here. 

Photo 6. The little one in the middle. Reminds me of a (miniature) Toninia, maybe Buellia, but probably isn't.

Photo 7. Here's one of the Stereocaulon. Tidy crowded cushion, usually pretty big (3 -5 cm diameter, 1-3 cm tall).

Photo 8. Another beauty. Peltigera for sure, clear dark veins underneath. Reasonably matches P. leucophlebia, but I have not keyed it to be sure.

Photo 9. My second favorite, Very cryptic when standing, but it really pops when you're near the ground. Reminds me of  a Psora, but not one I've met.
The Fulbright Global Scholar program is making it possible for me to spend about the next 3 months in Iceland conducting research and building connections (disclaimer: any views I express in this blog are mine and do not represent the Fulbright Program or the US Government).

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